It can be difficult for children — especially very young ones — to learn how to interact with a living pet. FurReal Friends are an excellent way to introduce the idea of caring for and interacting with a pet, thanks to lifelike sounds and movements that can be triggered by simple actions like a wave of the hand. Available in a variety of price points and animal designs, there’s a FurReal Friend out there that’s just right for you.
The best FurReal Friend is the FurReal Friends Pom Pom My Baby Panda Pet. This panda FurReal Friend has more than 45 different responses and interactions — it can even talk back to you.
FurReal Friends come in three main varieties: cuties, walkalots and premium interactive plushies.
FurReal Friends are typically meant for older children, usually in an age range of about 6 to 9 years old. There are some FurReal Friends specifically made for use by children as young as 4, though make sure to double-check before handing a FurReal Friend to a child that young.
Most FurReal Friends include at least one accessory that can be used specifically with that pet to trigger specialized reactions like phrases, movements and facial expressions. These can be anything from treats to toys, even wearables such as sunglasses. Some FurReal Friends also have extra accessories that can be purchased separately.
Walkalot and interactive FurReal Friends require batteries to operate, though they should come with a fresh set to get you started. Depending on the size of the FurReal Friend and its complexity they can use any type of batteries, from simple AA to more specialized options like A76 or C.
FurReal Friends have a large range of prices that take into consideration how complex the individual pet is. Non-interactive plushies can run for as little as $10 while progressively more interactive and complex FurReal Friends can slowly balloon their cost until it hits a maximum range of $100 to $150.
That depends on the specific FurReal Friend. Generally speaking, however, it’s best for your child to have passed the toddler stage at minimum, since FurReal Friends can easily be broken by children who don’t understand how to play with them. Check the product description of the FurReal Friend you’re thinking of buying to see if your child is too young for it.
Absolutely, though it isn’t their main purpose and they aren’t classified as educational toys. The chance to care for a FurReal Friend can foster responsibility and your child can practice communication skills if your FurReal Friend has a talking feature.
Quite durable when played with along the lines they are meant to be played with — which means, gently. They are mechanical, so they can break down, and they’re fairly susceptible to drops as well. As long as they are used as they are meant to be, they can last for a year or three at least.
What you need to know: A very responsive and interactive FurReal Friend that’s a big hit with many children.
What you’ll love: This FurReal Friend has more than 45 interactions, makes baby-panda sounds and its head and legs are fully adjustable. If you shake the panda’s rattle, it will walk to you.
What you should consider: It’s rather small despite costing in one of the higher ranges for FurReal friends.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
What you need to know: This baby triceratops FurReal Friend is a great option for any age or gender with a very affordable price point.
What you’ll love: More than 35 sounds and movements are packed into this FurReal Friend, including jumps and sits.
What you should consider: This FurReal Friend is particularly prone to falling over during interactions and some arrive with dead batteries.
What you need to know: One of FurReal Friends' most interactive and intuitive options.
What you’ll love: This tiger has more than 100 sound and motion combinations, including a mighty roar that comes with a playful bow.
What you should consider: Quite large — larger than many expect — and perhaps the most expensive FurReal Friend.
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Jordan C. Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.